Posted by Curt on 5 October, 2012 at 2:07 am. 9 comments already!


Alex Knepper @ Race 4 2012:

Barack Obama is unique among American presidents in that he has spent his entire career successfully avoiding being directly questioned by a competent adversary from the opposing political party. In 2004, he faced only token opposition in his race for the Senate, and once elected he immediately ran for the presidency — against a man possessed by the idea that to take the nation’s probable first black president to task would be inappropriate. Obama walked into the other night’s debate with Mitt Romney with the same attitude that he brought to his battles with Alan Keyes and John McCain — against whom he could simply run out the clock with impunity.

In 2004, Barack Obama ran as a symbol: He represented future; he was The One, an exciting new figure for the next generation. He repeated this act at the national level in 2008, offering the famous hope-and-change routine to a nation weary after eight years of controversy and division under the Bush Administration. Obama’s presence on the stage against John McCain was an implicit proposition to America: Are you really going to let this guy get in the way of dynamic, generational change? John McCain wants to get in the way of this historical moment — Can you believe this guy? It was a role that McCain was all too willing to play.

In 2012, for the first time in his life (!), Barack Obama is an incumbent with a record. He can no longer live in the world of mere symbolism and potential. He has to deal with the realities of an unemployment rate he has failed to tame, inflation that can no longer be denied, deficits he has failed to control. Appeals to sentiment and symbolism alone are no longer an option. For once in his life, he must run on facts and figures — for once in his life, his opponent is the man who lives in the realm of potential. So what can Obama do? He can’t run on his record. He doesn’t have any new ideas. And he knows it: His body language oozed annoyance — How dare this man? How dare he not behave like John McCain? Can you believe this guy?

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